You’ve heard the pitch before: “Do you want to be successful? Are you tired of living a mediocre life and are feeling stuck? Well, here’s your chance to turn things around, because I know the secret. And only for a one-time purchase of “X” amount of dollars, you’ll know the secret too.
First, let’s get something straight, success isn’t something that’s locked away in a box somewhere and requires you to pay your hard earned money just to get it.And there’s a world of a difference in purchasing success versus buying something of actual value to your business and expertise, such as Next Level Practice.
After reviewing countless of individual cases of those who have obtained what success meant for them, I noticed a pattern of about four aspects of this process, and I’d like to share each of them with you today in step-by-step fashion, and its application to private practice.
And with no purchase necessary!
Now don’t go reading the end and spoil the article. A peculiar title like this deserves a complete breakdown on what constitutes this success stuff. And yes, this model has worked very well for me too as I still use it in 2018.
Many of us have heard the newly coined phrase, “What’s your why?” as opposed to “This is what I do for a living.” Starting with the end in mind is a fantastic motivator which is why this phrase became so popular.
Now I can’t tell you how to define your why. But what I can extend to you is once you find it, the motivation naturally follows. A great question to ask yourself, similar to those trying to figure out their personal brand is, “If others could define me in one word, what would it be?” Perhaps it’s a helper, or an influencer, or maybe others see you as creative. And if that word aligns with what you truly value, you’re on your way in figuring out your why.
Ever heard of SMART goals?
If not, Google it. But, a wise mentor once told me, “Go further than mere SMART goals, go for goals that stretch your limit’s limit.” I thought my limit was a high school diploma to be honest, yet here I am months away from finishing graduate school and opening a private practice. Life is unknown with where we will end up at, but that’s the power of motivation, it can push us enough to learn flexibility in altering our very future.
Want to know what motivated me? After reading this article about the financial gains Joe has done in his work, it inspired me, but not for the money per se. What boosted my interest was how multifaceted owning a business as a therapist can be, thanks for showing me that Joe. There’s my motivator. That’s my why. And when others define me in one word they often say, multifaceted.
Before moving to the next step, it’s important to point out that it surely isn’t enough to just be motivated, you’ve got to do something about it too. You’ve got to have a plan, or at least enough courage to say “I’m going to give this a try.”
Many students take the SAT because it provides entry level information, and many of those who score relatively well on it do not necessarily want to attend college either. So what gives? Well, many students have the competence to do well on these tests, but that doesn’t mean they will take action to actually attend college and apply themselves. The same concept works for those who want to obtain success: many of us would like the money, freedom, or anything that remotely describes owning a business, but these thoughts are useless until put into action.
Which brings me to step 2.
Ever used a hammer on a nail before? You squeeze the handle relatively tight and give it a swing with the hope you don’t smash your thumb, however you still missed the nail. Now you decide to aim a bit more to the left because you remember where the head of the hammer had landed last time. You level your mind and swing your arm back and boom, you’ve nailed your target. Starting or growing a private practice has everything to do with the dance of hitting or missing you target.
I like to call this a ready, fire, and aim policy.
The traditional “ready, aim, fire” phrase is relatively slowing down practitioners from gunning for their vision to obtain success, and this seems to be unbeknownst to many. I recall building my first website (I was ready), and for six months straight I was aiming: constantly changing the font of my posts, changing syntax in every sentence, updating the color scheme and hue of the contact information. I wanted it perfect before I gave it to the world. Unfortunately, I aimed so much I forgot to fire.
It seems there are many factors involved with this action stuff because it requires pulling the trigger and firing into a direction we are seemingly unsure about. So it made complete sense that uncertainty, fear, perception of judgement from the world, and so many other feelings rained over me in this process.
This is the point where we struggle with stress, anxiety and so many other exhausting physiological feelings because this action stuff is risky right? Yes, however, I see no problem with taking calculated risk as this shows both preparation for taking action and understanding that we are better off taking action than practicing inaction.
After sitting with these feelings I had realized they were alarming me that I just couldn’t move. But, I had to, and so I eventually did. I launched the website, and as the clock ticked, I was awaiting for the internet police to contact me and tell me, “Your website isn’t good enough for the internet.” Isn’t that such a strange thought, well, it’s pretty common actually.
So, I changed my policy to ready, fire, and then aim. Just like taking a swing at a nail with a hammer. After trying it once, you know how far you are from your real target. Now, I know that when a project is good enough, I launch it and edit it along the way. Because my idea is now out there in existence, it’s now a tool I know how to use because I actually used it, and now I can manipulate it to the environment that surrounds it and adapt.
And I would have never known this until I fired my idea into existence for the world to see.
Asking myself these questions were helpful while in the process of firing. Maybe they will be helpful for you too.
- What is it that I need to do today to make my tomorrow easier?
- What is the thing I need to do this hour to make the next hour easier?
- Have I prepared enough? Did I over prepare to the point where I am afraid to execute my idea?
On to the next, because after all this action taking, it can get pretty tiring.
3. Rest and Play
This step might sound like a no brainer, but it surely wasn’t for the likes of me. I told myself often, “You’ll find time for rest after all the work is done.” But, the work never seemed to get done which meant that I never seemed to find time to rest and play—such a sad cycle.
I’ve seen too many colleagues burn out because they thought taking time to rest meant you were either lazy, didn’t care about your future or they were afraid of not getting a raise at their job if they slowed down. Boy are many of us wrong!
As many of you know, Joe spoke at a TED talk where he spoke on the importance of slowing down as these are the moments your mind can rest and cultivate new innovated ideas. If you haven’t check it out because it totally applies here!
I am purposely keeping this portion relatively short because I can’t necessarily tell you what makes you feel rested or playful. My hope is that you feel like an expert in what it means to rest and play already. As for me, if I didn’t say, “I need to take a break,” my body eventually told me as it would slowly become sickened from pulling all-nighters.
If you’re curious, my rest and play looks like the following:
- Prayer in the mornings
- Listening to one podcast on the way to work
- Take my breaks by walking outside near nature and in the sun
- Sit with humans during lunch
- Find at least half an hour to watch stand-up comedy
- Listen to my favorite songs on the way back from work
- Watch one TED talk, cook and read a little before bed
This routine may sound unrealistic to many, but for me, it keeps me well rested and rejuvenated for the next day.
Here are some questions that have helped me in my process of resting and finding time to play.
- What relaxes you?
- And what do you do for fun?
- What is the one thing you can do right now which makes you feel like there’s not a worry in the world?
- Where do you go for your getaway?
- Can’t adults have fun too?
- What is doable in the moment?
- Can you schedule vacation first and make it so the rest of your schedule works around that?
Remember, we are all in this together to extend a helping hand to the world. However, I am extending to you to rest your helping hand and to take care of yourself when you can. Make time.
Lastly, and the step that separates the average from the greats, is something that is near and dear to me. Without this step, the first three would almost be meaningless. Also, it’s probably the most difficult step, but doable!
Persistence is like cleaning your hair, you simply wash and repeat, except in order to build a strong foundation to last for years in the private practice world, or to be successful in anything, it’s going to take a lot of washing and repeating.
Each step we take toward our goal is difficult because we’re crazy enough to want to move upward and try something new. And trying something new isn’t always smooth because we’re not necessarily competent at it yet, which can feel so self-defeating. But I’m here to tell you that I guarantee the level of intensity of each step becomes easier as you learn new skills along the way.
When you’re motivated and execute your plans and rest enough, soon your brain will adjust by obtaining and maintaining autopilot, and you’ll be cruising toward exponential growth in no time. They say, they meaning thriving practices, that it takes roughly two years for a private practice to gain enough recognition and clients to remain stable. That’s only 24 months, or 730 days. That may feel like a tough pill to swallow, but think of how many days ten years is, exactly 3,650. Yeah, I’d rather go with the former. Now, these are just averages of what I’ve seen in the field. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to get there faster and give us your secret too.
That old lawnmower
Persistence is like starting that old lawnmower that’s been sitting in the garage. You pull the string over and over. It just doesn’t seem to be working, but you don’t give up that easily. You give it a tug about five more times and notice it becoming easier as you loosen some jammed gears. Your last pull did the trick and your lawnmower is now in full motion. This is persistence. We need to continue pulling on the tough ropes of business and/ or figure out newer approaches in order to make it happen, like adding oil.
This is exactly why therapists make great business owners in my eyes: we are trained to think alternatively and practicing flexibility. These aspects are the foundational building blocks for starting and running a business, and to exhibit success.
In closing, be motivated and put it into action. Remember to rest and have fun and please, if anything, stay persistent in this process and it will pay off soon enough. And from there, it will get easier.
Also, don’t stop here with the steps I’ve covered. I’m sure there’s something you specifically can add to this model and make it your own. Whatever you feel will get you where you see you need to be.
Good luck success chasers!